The NFL free agency “legal tampering window” opened on Monday, March 15, and since then a lot of the best players have been signed. However, following the 2021 NFL Draft, there are still some intriguing free agents available for teams looking to add veteran experience to their team. So let’s take a look at the top available free agents still remaining on the market.
Top remaining free-agent quarterbacks in 2021
1) Nick Mullens, San Francisco 49ers
2) Brian Hoyer, New England Patriots
3) Robert Griffin III, Baltimore Ravens
4) Blaine Gabbert, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
5) Matt Barkley, Buffalo Bills
6) Blake Bortles, Los Angeles Rams
7) Sean Mannion, Minnesota Vikings
8) A.J. McCarron, Houston Texans
With Dak Prescott off the market, the QB position lacks star power
After Prescott became the second-highest-paid QB in NFL history, he has left behind a somewhat empty market of QB free agents in 2021. Compared to last offseason, the QB position does not contain any sure-fire starting talent.
With Alex Smith retiring, the option in terms of free agent QBs got significantly shorter. Smith joins a list that includes Drew Brees, Philip Rivers, and Matt Schaub.
Nick Mullens headlines the remaining options. However, it is unlikely that any team would be looking to bring one of these QBs in as anything more than a low-end backup or third-QB option. A number of these players are experienced in the NFL and could be intriguing scout team QBs for teams towards the end of training camp.
Top remaining NFL free-agent wide receivers in 2021
1) Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals
2) Golden Tate, New York Giants
3) Alshon Jeffery, Philadelphia Eagles
4) Dede Westbrook, Jacksonville Jaguars
5) Damiere Byrd, New England Patriots
6) Isaiah Ford, Miami Dolphins
7) Dez Bryant, Baltimore Ravens
8) Laquon Treadwell, Atlanta Falcons
9) De’Anthony Thomas, Baltimore Ravens
10) Marqise Lee, New England Patriots
Aging veterans remain the top options after biggest names sign
There is little in the way of sure-fire wide receiver talent available. The top three players in Fitzgerald, Tate, and Jeffery could all choose to retire. Westbrook is the most intriguing name on this list. Entering 2020, he was highly thought of as a candidate to have a big season. Westbrook had back-to-back 100 target seasons in 2018 and 2019.
Top remaining running backs on the market
1) Le’Veon Bell, Kansas City Chiefs
2) Todd Gurley, Atlanta Falcons
3) Duke Johnson, Houston Texans
4) Brian Hill, Atlanta Falcons
5) Adrian Peterson, Detroit Lions
6) Chris Thompson, Jacksonville Jaguars
7) Dion Lewis, New York Giants
8) Devonta Freeman, New York Giants
9) LeSean McCoy, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
10) Alfred Morris, New York Giants
Behind Aaron Jones, there are a lot of questions about the running back position in the 2021 NFL free-agent class
The running back position is another intriguing group. Aaron Jones was the clear standout. His decision to remain in Green Bay could remove the only back capable of receiving a deal with an average annual value of more than $10 million a year.
The signing of James Conner by the Cardinals took the last really viable starting RB off the board. Bell and Gurley are no longer starting RBs but could be valuable in a role. Johnson is a valuable pass-catching back, but with an influx of pass-catching talent into the league in the past few seasons, he could find his role marginalized.
The veteran experience of Peterson is likely to see him find a role somewhere. However, the likelihood is that he will not find his way onto a roster until late in training camp. He proved last season he could come in at late notice and provide an option.
Top available 2021 free-agent tight ends remaining
1) Trey Burton, Indianapolis Colts
2) Tyler Eifert, Jacksonville Jaguars
3) Jesse James, Detroit Lions
4) Richard Rodgers, Philadelphia Eagles
5) MyCole Pruitt, Tennessee Titans
6) Darren Fells, Houston Texans
7) Josh Perkins, Philadelphia Eagles
8) Demetrius Harris, Chicago Bears
9) Deon Yelder, Kansas City Chiefs
The free-agent TE landscape wiped clean by New England
Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith headlined this group from a talent standpoint and both ended up in New England. The top 2021 NFL free agent tight ends will team up to give Cam Newton — or perhaps Mac Jones — a unique pair of targets in the middle of the field.
The remaining options are intriguing at the very top, but lack depth. Burton and Eifert have both been highly regarded TEs during their career. Either could come in and contribute as a secondary tight end, with the potential to be the top tight end if a starter gets injured.
In the past four seasons, Burton has scored 14 touchdowns, making him a legitimate red-zone threat. Meanwhile, Eifert was targeted 60 times in each of the past two seasons. When healthy, Eifert is an intriguing playmaker.
Top available 2021 NFL free-agent offensive line players remaining
1) Charles Leno Jr., Chicago Bears
2) Russell Okung, Carolina Panthers
3) Kelechi Osemele, Kansas City Chiefs
4) Eric Fisher, Kansas City Chiefs
5) Mitchell Schwartz, Kansas City Chiefs
6) Austin Reiter, Kansas City Chiefs
7) Dennis Kelly, Tennessee Titans
8) Trai Turner, Los Angeles Chargers
The offensive line free-agent group is extremely top-heavy in the 2021 NFL offseason
The offensive line group was intriguing when free agency opened, but the majority of the main options are gone. However, following the selection of Teven Jenkins, the Bears released Charles Leno Jr. Leno immediately becomes the top-rated offensive lineman available. It would be a surprise to see Leno remain a free agent for long.
Best remaining defensive players available
1) Geno Atkins, DT, Cincinnati Bengals
2) Richard Sherman, CB, San Francisco 49ers
3) Damon Harrison, DT, Green Bay Packers
4) Brian Poole, CB, New York Jets
5) Olivier Vernon, EDGE, Cleveland Browns
6) Melvin Ingram, EDGE, Los Angeles Chargers
7) Bashaud Breeland, CB, Kansas City Chiefs
8) Sheldon Richardson, IDL, Cleveland Browns
9) Kawann Short, DT, Carolina Panthers
10) Malik Hooker, S, Indianapolis Colts
11) Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Arizona Cardinals
A lot of talented defensive options remain available in the 2021 NFL free-agent class
The defensive group of free agents does not lack talent even this late in the cycle. Atkins and Sherman have both proven to be valuable starters over the course of their career. Harrison was considered one of the best defensive linemen in the league just a couple of seasons ago. Even after a couple of down years, he is still extremely talented and could be a valuable addition.
There are a number of intriguing cornerback and defensive line options among the remainder of the group. Richardson has proven to be adept at providing a one-season impact for a team before moving on. He could be a player that a contender eyes up heading into the season in 2021.
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